Thursday, May 20, 2004

24 Skiddoo: Show Straddles the Cutting Edge

Back in the first season, there was an aura of wonder and anticipation surrounding every additional episode of 24, since its two trademark concepts -- "real time" and split screens -- broke our ideas of typical television convention that we were sure that the show's storytelling would be similarly bold in breaking new narrative ground. At least for me, these kinds of thoughts persisted for at least another season, when it appeared that Jack would actually be killed off (twice!), or that the moral fiber of our supposed heroes was more complicated than black and white when it seemed that Jack ordered the killing of Sayed Ali's son (which turned out to be a trick that a lot of other viewers saw coming, though I didn't)(and they tried the same trick this time again though with far lesser results, since we didn't actually "see" Jane "die," merely the threat of it). At some time, I'd like to see Jack kill an innocent, since the collateral damage (of the innocent bystander variety) directly attributable to his actions has been virtually nil.

However, the Ryan Chappelle execution sullied the pristine consciences of the good guys, which bucks the trend of last minute saves from potentially morally uncomfortable situations. (Also see Tony going rogue to ensure Michelle's safety (even though the way he did it was completely idiotic) and more importantly, that there have been consequences that he hasn't gotten out of (yet).) Considering that implausibility will continue to be part of 24's fabric, it's heartening to see that the show is also beginning to temper its unbelievability with more realistic touches, though I'd still like to see people die directly by Jack's hand.

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